Finding the Joy and Coping with Loss as Holidays Collide with COVID-19

The good news is 2021 is right around the corner, and with it comes the hope of large-scale vaccination and an end to the COVID-19 pandemic by this time next year.

In the meantime, we’ve got to get through one of the strangest and for many, most distressful holiday seasons ever. While the pandemic has had a profound effect on the physical health of millions of people, it’s had a significant impact on our mental health as well.

More than 40 percent of Americans surveyed report they are struggling with mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, loneliness and grief due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And with the public health system largely overwhelmed, it’s more important than ever that we all know where to turn for mental health services and support for ourselves and others.

Here are some places to start:

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers resources in multiple languages, including tips for managing stress and anxiety and coping with the holidays, highlighting opportunities to stay connected—through phone calls, messages and virtual gatherings—even if you are unable to celebrate in person.
  • How Right Now provides information and support to help you cope and increase your resiliency through the pandemic while also navigating the many different emotions you may be experiencing this time of year.
  • worked with physicians and mental health professionals to gather resources designed to help people cope with the challenges of COVID-19 and beyond.
  • The #PowerOfUs campaign features useful tips and information dedicated to protecting the black community, among the hardest hit by the pandemic.
  • The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) aggregates myriad resources and offers tips for surviving painful holiday emotions and suggestions on what to gift a loved one with mental illness.
  • Johns Hopkins University offers tips to make coronavirus safety measures easier to follow in the face of burnout and pandemic fatigue.

Our team at the CDC Foundation as well as our partners understand that wishes for health and happiness aren’t simply words on a greeting card this year. They are a call to action.

We urge everyone to be safe—wear a mask, wash your hands, watch your distance, be wary of crowds—and pay attention to your mental wellbeing and that of your friends, neighbors and communities at large. The holiday season may look different this year. But there are steps each of us can take to celebrate safely, and support and protect one another physically and emotionally.


This blog post is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $45,939,536 with 100 percent funded by CDC/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement by, CDC/HHS or the U.S. Government.

Lisa Waddell headshot
Lisa Waddell is the chief medical officer with the CDC Foundation.